Monday, December 31, 2018


The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the De La O eleven on Sunday:
The score stood 135 to 124, with but one day more to play,
And then when Gordon ran for 9, and Gronkowski did worse with 4,
A pall-like silence fell upon the Judge whose eyes were cast upon on the floor

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to the hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, “If only De La O could but get a whack at that—
We’d put up even money now, with De La Oat the bat.”

And Winston threw for 38, and Evans caught 28 more,
But those totals were answered by Pat Mahomes throwing for 33 and his wide receiver Hill getting 34;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of De La O getting to the bat.

But his Seattle D scored 13, and the Judge's kicker 8 more; And Hamilton caught five, and posted 9 upon the board; And Conner ran and got him 12, and Gordon rumbled for 9 more;
And when the dust had lifted
De La O had scored 245, but Rumpole 32 more.

Then from five thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It pounded on the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
De La O wasn't done and was advancing to the bat. For T Hilton his wide receiver had not yet played a down And with Andrew Luck throwing perhaps Rumpole would finally frown
There was ease in De La O's manner as he managed his team all year;
There was pride in the Judge's bearing and a smile lit upon his face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt ‘twas De La O at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he chose his players well;
Five thousand mouse's clicked to wish him very well;
Then the final game began - a season on the line.
From the stands full with people, there went up a muffled
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore;
They needed Luck to throw the ball to Ty Hilton ever more;
Oh, somewhere in this favoured land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children
But there is no joy in Mudville—or in Judges' chambers throughout Hilton did not catch the ball; The Mighty De La O has struck out! Rumpole- 299; De La O: 253 For those of you who want to read the original poem Casey At The Bat by Earnest Thayer, 1888, click here. Consolation (set of steak knives) bracket: Johnny S- 295 - Mia Courthouse Rules- 127 (for the record, in the championship series, Rumpole outscored everyone). Rumpole is the Champion of the 2018 Justice Building Fantasy Football League.

Sunday, December 30, 2018


It's Championship Sunday for the REGJB Fantasy Football league. After part one last week, Rumpole (Boo! Hiss) magnificently managed his injured underdogs to squeak out a 135-124 lead. But that lead didn't materialize until the final quarter of the Sunday night game, and for most of the day the teams battled to an even draw.  
So don't count Judge De La O out yet. He's even headed when all those around him are losing theirs. He needs a big game from his up again/down again TE Gronkowski, while Rumpole needs his RBs who let him down last week to return to their former greatness. It will all be over by the end of Sunday's night game. 
Will the Judge strike a blow for all robed readers who have silently suffered the slings and arrows of Rumpolian abuse, mock, and scorn all these years? 
Or will Rumpole prove what he has always said? The judiciary cannot hold a candle to a good lawyer who is well prepared and motivated to prevail? 

IF You can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters the same....

Our Millennials, our robed readers, and even worse- our robed readers who are Millennials- probably have not perused poetry and Rudyard Kipling's poem IF. So to assuage their short-comings and communicate with them in their preferred medium (You-Tube Videos) and in keeping with Championship Sunday, we present the following by John Facenda who was...never mind, it takes too long to tell. Just enjoy.  And although it is quite out of character for us to say it, we wish our worthy opponent the best of luck on the field of battle today. 

(He's going to need it. You didn't really  think we could end this without a cheap shot, did you?) 

Thursday, December 27, 2018


The old newspaper adage (for those millennials who read this award winning blog, a newspaper was something that printed on real paper news stories and was physically  distributed initially twice a day at newsstands or delivered to your home or office once a day. Yes, we realize you millennials are shocked at the waste of paper and fossil fuels in printing and delivering such an item, but you will never know the pleasure of a hot cup of coffee, a thick Sunday London Times, a flaky-buttery French croissant and an outdoor cafĂ© with nothing but time on your hands and no cell phone to text or read emails on. It's your loss.  ) is that there is no story when a dog bites a man but it is headline news when a man bites a dog.

With that out of the way, we publish a "dog bites man" story that will not raise eyebrows. 

Broward Clerk of Court Brenda Foreman has filed multiple complaints against our brother-blogger in Broward because he has tried to...steady yourself....take her picture in public! (Gasp!!). 
No this is not a paparazzi harassment thing. 

From the Sun Sentinel (see above re: Newspapers) article:
The dispute began in October, when Gelin referred to the clerk as “Brenda” during a conversation about one of his clients. Forman insisted on being addressed as “Ms. Forman” or “Clerk Forman,” according to the Bar complaint.
Gelin bristled at the insistence on formality and decided to write about Forman’s reaction. Things escalated when he tried to take her picture with his cellphone on several occasions to accompany his article.
Rumpole says (sadly shaking head): Broward, Broward, Broward. What are we going to do with you people? Can't we all just get along? And don't you have a nice library there? All problems can be solved by refuge in the Bard. 
Romeo and Juliet: 
Juliet, having just read a text from her BFF that the guy she's crushing on belongs to a family that's been dissin her family since like forever, is upset that R's last name will prevent her from dating him. She then expounds on the meaning of a name, words that have passed from generation to generation, centuries old, but contain a lesson for our Broward brethren in 2018.
Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What's Montague? It is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!

What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet;

So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.
So Brenda, Forman, BF, whatever. That which we call a clerk would file (and misplace the file) by any other name. As the saying went where we grew up, call us what you want, just don't call us late for the canapes and cocktail hour. 
The Sun Sentinel dives a bit deeper into Ms. Forman's rise to Clerk, noting that she came to the courthouse where misery thrives with no legal or clerking experience and credited her victory with her marriage to her husband who appears to be many years her elder. We report, you decide: 

 Forman has recently lost an attempt to be declared her hubby's guardian, A Broward judge ruling that her petition was filed "in bad faith". 
Miami Component
Forman has filed for a DV restraining order against the intrepid Broward Blogger Bill Gelin who is snapping her photo and blogging about her. She has asked Broward Sheriff Deputies to stop Gelin  from taking her picture in public, citing the oft used Broward County exception to the Bill of Rights ("No stinkin law or constitution or judge shall stop a Broward Officer from doing whatever they damn well please."  Motto of Mike Satz,Broward State Attorney).  It's all gotten too messy for a Broward Judge to handle (which is saying a lot) so the matter was referred to our own Judge Bill Altfield who will handle the contretemps with his well known fairness, legal wisdom, and equanimity. 
So once again, Broward turns it's eyes towards DC and says "Mess? Madness? Turmoil and plot twists in our courts? We've been doing this long before Trump had a tower in NYC." 

Monday, December 24, 2018


After those who wear robes, we tend to mock FACDL, but we do it with a smile and now it's time to acknowledge all FACDL does for us as criminal defense attorneys. First and foremost it is like a big brother/sister having your back. When a lawyer has a real problem and rings the bell, the FACDL and especially the Miami Chapter answers the call. We have also been blessed with great leaders, many of whom went on to the judiciary (but they are still invited to the awards dinner, because being  criminal defense attorneys is all about embracing forgiveness.). 
The current president Carmen Vizcaino follows in the tradition of great presidents like Rutherford B. Hayes and Millard Fillmore. She is working hard to get those all important courthouse passes in our hands (a truly thankless task that makes all of our lives so much better)  and is entitled to some recognition: Well done Ms. Vizcaino. Well done indeed! 

This is Ms. Vizcaino's recent email urging members to re-up:

What has FACDL-Miami done for you?

We have mad problem solving skills

The 9th floor clerks window had lines out the door and an average wait time of 1 hour to get to the window. Now we have both windows open in the morning to help alleviate the delay.  - FACDL MIAMI DID THAT. 

Eservice for depositions - we are discussing a solution to having the private bar be allowed to esubpoena officers instead of having to walk over paper subpoenas. 

We have had numerous meetings both the with clerks office and other partners in an effort to move forward the herculean task of having our pleadings and A-forms online. 

We are meeting with corrections to discuss solutions to having to resend letters of authorization for your investigator or expert everytime you client is moved, and to attempt to streamline the process for getting a laptop into the jail to review discovery. 

We have met and resolved issues with the clerk's window refusing to accept Motions to Seal or Expunge filings. 

We triage issues when they arise - many of our members will have an issue at a facility and will contact us.  We can make a call or send an email as FACDL in an attempt to solve the problem in a timely fashion. 

Your COURT ID - we handle all logistics and liaison with AOC in order to provide the private bar with Court ID to bypass the security lines. 

You have a client with a PVH but has an addiction and is ineligible for drug court?  Now you have Drug Court Probation (Post Adjudicatory Drug Court)  that can keep your client out of prison and get them help. FACDL MIAMI DID THAT. 

These are only a few of issues that FACDL has dealt with this year. 
See attached Renewal form below. Join and support this organization  which gives us collective power to resolve the issues that face us as criminal defense lawyers. 

And lest we forget, FACDL is also responsible for....
The I-Phone;  roasted brussels sprouts;  IPA Lager; 
The lyrics to Ariana Grande's "Thank-u, Next"; selfie-sticks; valet parking at the Justice Building; vegan hot-dogs in the hot-dog carts outside the courthouse; the espresso machine in the lobby of the main jail (try the bond-out latte); Mike Pence; and the smiley face emoji.  All for the low-low price of a couple of C-Notes a year, tax included. 

Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 23, 2018


As many of you know,  I am a huge music buff and a connoisseur of live music. Anything that is slightly interesting, I'm out the door and in line. I create no boundaries so I see a variety of bands in all different genres.  I want to see real art ( no money grabbin' greatest hits show by a bunch of geriatrics). Crazy concert prices for people in their 70's singing rock is not my thang man. 

Since I see so many shows, many have asked what were my most memorable performances for 2018? Here is my list of the top 5 shows (and why they were so memorable).
1) Lucy Roche and Suzzy Roche at the Krest Theater in Delray Beach - 

Lucy was opening for her father, famed folkie Loudon Wainwright III. She was okay (she had no stage presence). However, when her mother Suzzy (of one of my favorite bands, The Roches) unexpectedly stepped up on stage and they covered the Beatles' beautiful "For No One", it was pure magic. Can you imagine that, one song makes the whole performance? 

2) Portugal The Man- One Big Holiday, Punta Gorda, Dominican Republic

Despite having a number one song on the charts ("Feel it Still") they are hardly just a pop band. They took the stage doing Metallica and Queen covers and finished their set with a killer edition of Oasis' "Don't Look Back in Anger". PTM rocks like it' s nobody's business.

3) Father John Misty at the Fillmore Miami Beach

With the looks and debonair of a model and charisma of Freddy Mercury, this guy has STAR written all over him. I was previously familiar with some of his songs but his on-stage energy and charisma totally put me in awe. He's a diamond in the rough. 

4) My Morning Jacket, Night one at "One Big Holiday" in Punta Gorda, Dominican Republic. 

With the band going on an extended hiatus for a couple of years, for this five day music festival, they simply played their whole catalog in chronological order. They finished their first set with a 20 minute "Phone Went West" which started out as a breezy reggae song but then burst into a psychedelic guitar freak out. This demonstrates why they are the premier modern rock and roll band 
5) David Byrne "American Utopia" tour at the Fillmore South (Miami Beach). 

This was, not even close, the very best show I've seen in the last 5 years. The Talking Heads founder re-imagined and reinvented the whole concert going experience by making his show a combination Broadway show/marching band. Every song was a different, choreographed dance where the instruments were attached to the bodies and not a stick of equipment on stage.  

Of course my opinion is hardly the end all;  I just like to write.  What was your favorite show of 2018?  

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all  (except for those lawyers quoting ridiculously low fees, prosecutors that don't return phone calls and judges that don't bother to read pleadings) .


It's the matchup everyone expected and everyone wanted. Today, the championship round of the REGJB Justice League Fantasy Football concludes with the Honorable Judge De La O and his De La Fins taking on yours truly and his rag-tag band of players on the MAGA-MAGA team.
It's been a year of streaks for Rumpole, winning the first two games, then losing the next three, before superior managing skills righted the ship and his team tore off nine straight wins, for a 11-3 record. 
So who will win today? The respected and bespectacled jurist, with a  quiet and steady hand and who is known for the monk-like intensity  he brings to any problem- legal or fantasy-football related? Or the brash, outspoken, robe-dissin blogger who came from no-where to shock the league and  whom legions of judges are rooting against? 

This is season is a story of Qbs and RBs. De La Fins made a solid pick in Saints QB Brees, and then a late round stunner of Steeler RB James Conner who emerged as a true superstar when Pittsburgh let their superstar RB Bell walk. But in a late season set-back, Conner went down and De La O quickly nabbed off the free agent list his rookie replacement who merely tore up the Patriots for 144 yards  last week. Does De la O and his RB have one more breakout performance in him which could push the Judge over the top and allow him bragging rights for the year? 
Or will Rumpole's dynamic combo of breakouts- QB Patrick Mahomes and  rookie RB Barkley- come through once again and give Rumpole the 70-80 points this dynamic duo have provided in his remarkable run to the top of the Justice League?
The Steeler- Saints matchup is the 4:15 game, while the Chief play the late Sunday night game at 8, so this matchup will go into the wee hours of the weekend. And all eyes are on Rumpole as his ponders what to do with the injury to one of his top WRs - Steeler JuJu Schuster-Smith who has a nagging groin injury but who bravely tweeted yesterday to all of his FF owners that he was a go today and he would not let them down in the championship week?

Meanwhile back at the courthouse...
courtesy of FACDL prez Carmen Vizcaino who never rests, is this lineup of judges and coverage for the end of the year:


1. Judge Simon will cover Zilber (5) then Del Pino (16) then her own (1) on 12/24.  She will cover Johnson (9) then Del Pino (16) then her own (1) on 12/26-12/28.
2. Judge Fine will cover Wolfson (21) then Venzer (11) then his own (2) all week.
3. Judge Zilber will cover Diaz (21) then his own (5) on 12/26-12/28.
4. Judge Multack will cover Hersch (13) then Diaz (20) then his own (6) on 12/24. Judge Multack will cover Hersch (13) then his own (6) on 12/26-12/28.
5.Judge Glick will cover Milian (18) then her own (12) all week.
6.  Judge M. Hirsch will cover Schlesinger (19) then his own (14) on 12/24.  Judge M. Hirsch will cover Schlesinger (19) then Miranda (7) then his own (14) on 12/26-12/28.
7.Judge Walsh will cover Hendon (4) then her own (15) on 12/26-12/28.
8. Judge Tinkler Mendez will cover Blumstein (17) then Rodriguez-Fonts (10) then Ward (3).
 (On Xmas eve only, Judge Rudolph will be available for backup in case one of the other judges cannot make it because of foggy conditions. Ho. Ho. Ho.)

WEEK OF 12/31 AND 2019
1. Judge Fine will cover Zilber (5) then Del Pino (16)  then his own (2) on 12/31.  Judge Fine will cover Del Pino (16)  then his own (2) on 1/2-1/4.
2. Judge Ward will cover Hersch (13) then Diaz (20) then her own (3) on 12/31. Judge Ward will cover Hersch (13) then her own (3) on 1/2.
3.Judge Zilber will cover Diaz (21) then his own (5) on 1/2-1/4.
4. Judge Multack will cover Wolfson (21) then Venzer (11) then his own (6) all week.
5. Judge M. Hirsch will cover Simon (1) then Miranda (7) then his own (14) all week.
6. Judge Milian will cover Walsh (15) then Rodriguez-Fonts (10) then his own (18) all week.
7.Judge Tinkler Mendez will cover Blumstein (17) then Johnson (9) on 12/31 only. 

Friday, December 21, 2018


Here's your 2019 REGJB County Court lineup.  There are a lot of rookies taking the playing field. 
What's with everyone fleeing to civil? We will try not to take offense. 

Judge Betty Capote-Erben goes to back-up. Judge Kriry Nunez (4-9) replaces her in the line-up. Maybe someone should tell Judge BCE about Wally Pip and Lou Gehrig. 

Judge Andy Hague retires. Judge Betsy Alvarez-Zane (BAZ) takes the field in 4-10.  

Judge Wendell Graham hangs up the cleats after close to thirty-years on the bench (maybe it is 30 or more. Who's counting?). Judge Michael Barket will be holding court in 5-2.

Judge Gordon Murray was traded to the Caleb Center which is having a grand reopening in 2019.  Judge Lizette Martinez moves into courtroom 5-7 and the chambers once occupied by the Great Louise Krieger-Martin. Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you. 

Judge Michelle Alvarez-Barakat is movin-on-up to the east side to a deluxe apartment and chambers in civil. Judge Elaine Sosa-Bruzon (ESB)  will be open for business in 5-1. 

Judge Mary Jo Francis heads off into the sunset and her eclectic calendars of jail arraignments and criminal traffic will be handled by Judge Jackie Woodward who doesn't merit a hyphen in her last name. 

Lest all these shakeups and changes have you a bit rattled, fear not. Judge Fred Serpahin will remain a steadying presence in county court, but he's taking chambers on 6 and will be in courtroom 6-8 and Judge Ed Newman is steady as a rock holding the line in his same old spot in 6-6. 

Query: Which of our new county court judges do you think is circuit bound first?

Thursday, December 20, 2018


On December 19, 1944, the 506 Parachute Infantry Regiment, along with most of the 101st Airborne Division entered the line near a  previously unknown small town in Belgium  called Bastogne which was nestled in the vast green emptiness of the Ardennes Forrest. 
The Germans had attacked with surprising force- new Panzer divisions that the Allied command did not think existed. The Allied troops on the front lines were a mixture of new-green troops, and wizened veterans mostly in the armored divisions under General Patton's command of the Third Army. 
As Allied forces fell back on all fronts, there was the real possibility that Germany would recapture the port at Antwerp, cutting off a vital supply line and allowing the Germans to sue for peace so they could turn their attention to Stalin's massive red army plowing through eastern Europe on its way to Berlin. 
Into this gap-called a "Bulge" General Eisenhower threw his most experienced troops who were able to mobilize quickly and engage the enemy- the Airborne. 
As members of the 101st walked into Bastogne- (they called it a truck jump because they were trunked into battle and "jumped" from the back of trucks driven mostly by African-American transport drivers in the segregated Army)- they encountered panicked soldiers running for their lives dropping their weapons and ammo along the way. The Paratroopers- wearing only their summer battle fatigues and boots without warm socks and without sufficient ammo- stopped to pick up the discarded rifles and ammo as they walked into battle in what was going to be the coldest European winter in 100 years. Among these troops was Easy Company of the 506th PIR. Author Stephen Ambrose in his book "Band of Brothers" that chronicled their exploits wrote of Easy Company of the 506th: "At the peak of its effectiveness in Holland in October 1944 and in the Ardennes  in January 1945, it was as good a rifle company as there was in the world."

Easy and the rest of the 506th and the 101st moved into the gap, formed a semi-circle of defense and the Germans swarmed around them, causing a paratrooper to remark "They have us surrounded, the poor bastards."    On the 19th and 20th of December, 1944, the Germans attacked at Noville, northeast of Foy with their 2nd Panzer division. Paratroopers who had dug into frozen ground defended the attack, with the 1st Battalion of the 506th losing 212 of 600 men, while inflicting upwards of 1000 casualties and along with some US armor destroying over thirty Panzers and holding the line. 
On December 21, the temperature dropped to zero and it began to snow and did not stop. Easy Company had no wool socks, no long underwear. Cooks sent up used burlap sacks that the men made into clothing. 
The Germans continued their relentless attack at all hours of the days and bone chilling nights. And the paratroopers using rifles, mortars and grenades repulsed the armored attacks again and again, refusing to give ground. Three times the men of the 101st met in combat the best the German Army had- On D-Day in Normandy, in Holland during operation Market Garden, and in the Ardennes Forrest in the winter of 1944-45. And three times the men of the 101st prevailed. They were, are, and always will be America's Finest. 
Among those men was private Darrell "Shifty" Powers, a simple young man raised with his rifle shooting in the woods of Virginia. Shifty was blessed with almost super-human eyesight. He was the most accurate rifleman in Easy Company. As recounted by Ambrose in his book, on the morning of December 29, Shifty awoke in his foxhole and saw without binoculars- about two kilometers away no less- that "there was a tree up there toward Norville that wasn't there yesterday." He reported his findings to his sergeant who using binoculars couldn't see anything unusual among a large grouping of trees. How could Shifty know one of the dozen of trees was out of place?  After several minutes of observation the sergeant finally saw the barrel of an anticraft gun, and then another, and then  another. The Germans has moved an artillery battalion over the night and placed a tree to camouflage their guns, but Shifty had recognized something amiss. An artillery strike was called in and the area erupted as the German guns and shells went up in flames. 
On January 13, 1945, when Easy was attacking Foy, the company was pinned down by a sniper. No one could see him in the thick woods surrounding the town. Eventually Shifty fired his rifle and the shooting stopped. Later the company located the sniper with a bullet hole between his eyes, causing one of his friends to later remark "It just doesn't pay to be shootin at Shifty when he has a rifle in his hands."
Darrell Shifty Powers. March 3, 1923- June 17, 2009. A child of the depression. A young man at war. Married for 60 years after the war, he raised a family as a machinist before retiring. A citizen-solider. A true American Hero. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2018


One lawyer's folly is another lawyer's ….?

Miami is an ethnic town. Nothing brings a smile to our face than to hear a lawyer of Hispanic descent   say "mazel-tov" to a Jewish  lawyer who has experienced a joyous event in their life. Or the reverse- a gringo lawyer using a Spanish expression to a Hispanic colleague. It is our differences which make us stronger. 

Which brings us to the definition of Chutzpah, a Yiddish word. There are many definitions, but here's a good one:

Chutzpah is....
Filing multiple motions to disqualify the 3rd DCA when they deny each one. Albert Einstein famously said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  Einstein was never specifically asked this, but we think it's pretty crazy to keep asking the 3rd DCA to recuse themselves because they are prejudiced and biased against homeowners. 
Chutzpah is telling the 3rd DCA that they are, as a body dishonest and not impartial. 
Chutzpah is telling the 3rd DCA that they "falsified facts" in the record and ignored the proper standard of review. 
And finally, Chutzpah is filling for cert to the US SUPREME COURT the denial of the Florida Supreme Court to review the decisions of the 3rd DCA, and in that filing saying...

1. The opinion of the 3rd DCA  mispresented facts, ignored Florida Supreme Court law, and disregarded evidence showing fraud. The Florida Supreme Court declined jurisdiction to address this factually and intellectually dishonest result.


2.  The Third District Misrepresented the Amended Rule 1.540(b) Motion to reach a pre-determined result – foreclosure.” 


 3. “… the Dishonesty of the Third DCA’s opinion.” 


 4. “The Florida Supreme Court has repeatedly declined to protect the constitutional rights of foreclosure defendants.

You get the idea..and in reading the RSC it is pretty clear the 3rd DCA took a fairly dim view of having their opinions trashed to the feds. 

There is an old adage of not picking a fight with an institution who buys ink by the barrel. For our millennial readers, there used to be things called newspapers that were printed on something called paper and the words on the paper were printed using ink and the adage means not fighting with a newspaper because they can swamp you with negative articles. 
There is corollary which applies to  not picking a fight with an appellate court that has the final say on all of your cases. To do so is ….(all together now) Chutzpah!

Judge: "Counsel if what you say is true, I will have to throw out all my legal books."
Lawyer: "Judge, why don't you try reading them first."
These are the types of things we all want to say, but shouldn't. 

There isn't a blog in the land who is harder on those who wear black every day to work. And it's not that we are fighting for the dignity of the court- but the dignity of a court is worth fighting for. A  court as an institution is worthy of respect because the institution of the court is a powerful check on the executive branch and the institution of the court stands for the proposition of equal justice before the law for everyone who appears in court. 

 And when that does not happen you do not win by trashing the court (although we love the PD who filed a writ of mandamus with the Florida Supreme Court against the 3rd for not ruling in his case...and won!). You win by outthinking your opponent-which as a general proposition when dealing with "they who shall not be named" is not as hard as it might first appear. 

Dom Draper, that great American hero, famously said if you don't like the answer, change the question. 

There's more than one way to skin a cat and there's more than one way to win a case. And the surest way to lose a case is by trashing the court. Because in doing so, you demean yourself and make yourself no better than POTUS 45 and who wants to be mentioned with him in the same breath?  

So our advice is stop fighting with the denizens of the campus next to FIU. Figure out a better way... and while you're at it, hire a great defense attorney because in reading the below Rule, mi amigo, you are going to need it! 

(*The title of the post comes from a concluding quote in the Rule. Whomever authored that has some game.) 

Monday, December 17, 2018


ITEM: Refugees, including children,  are  arriving at the US border with identification numbers written on their forearms. 


And people wonder why Israel exists. 

Here is the reason why. Because this happened before. And it's happening now. 

The motto is "never again" and yet in 2018 children are being marked on their arms with identification numbers because of who they are ("foreigners"). 

It makes us sick. 
And what is worse is this country, whose men populate the cemeteries of Europe because of what dictators did in the last century, is doing nothing about it. It's a dishonor to the US Soldiers who lie in the cemeteries in France that we are sitting quietly while children are marked with numbers on their arms. Those men gave their lives so that this would not happen again, and yet, here we are. 
Shame on us. 

Thursday, December 13, 2018




JUDGE ERIC HENDON. (62 years old). Hendon began his career at the SAO in 1979 where he worked for two years. He spent most of the next eight years in private practice before joining the PD’s office in Miami-Dade in 1989. He spent ten years as an APD before Governor Bush appointed him to the County Court bench in 1999. In his bid to maintain his seat on the bench in 2002, he was defeated by Judge Jacqueline Schwartz. It was back to private practice for four years until his appointment again to the County Court bench in 2006 by Governor Jeb Bush. In 2008 he ran to maintain his seat against Denise Martinez-Scanziani, defeating her. In 2012, Govervor Scott promoted Hendon to the Circuit Court bench. He ran for a full six year term unopposed in 2014. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Leslie Rothenberg.

JUDGE BRONWYN MILLER. (46 years old). She began her career as an ASA in 1997. She spent eight years with the SAO before being appointed to the County Court bench by Governor Jeb Bush in 2005. She ran against George Alvarez in 2006 winning a six year term. In 2010, Governor Charlie Crist appointed Miller to the Circuit Court. She ran unopposed twice, in 2012 and again this year. Miller fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Richard Suarez.

Those that were passed up for the 3rd DCA include: Hon. Monica Gordo, Hon. Timothy J. Koenig, Hon. Fleur J. Lobree, Hon. Thomas J. Rebull, Hon. Lisa S. Walsh, Oren Rosenthal, Ann M. St. Peter-Griffith, Melissa Damian Visconti.

The appointments of Hendon and Miller creates two openings on the Circuit Court bench.  The JNC will be back at work sending nominees to Governor-Elect DeSantis in the next month or so.

Speaking of the JNC, they have announced that they will interview a total of 20 attorneys to replace County Court Judges Alexander Bokor and Carlos Guzman. Both judges were recently elevated to the Circuit Court. Those interviews will take place on December 20, 2018:

8:00 a.m.: Renier Diaz de la Portilla
8:15 a.m.: Gustavo J. Losa
8:30 a.m.: Zachary N. James
8:45 a.m.: Natalie Drew Moore
9:00 a.m.: Robert T. Watson
9:30 a.m.: Michelle A. Delancy
9:40 a.m.: Blanca T. Greenwood
9:50 a.m.: Marcia Giordano Hansen
10:00 a.m.: Jeffrey M. Kolokoff
10:10 a.m.: Jonathan Meltz
10:20 a.m.: Julie Harris Nelson
10:30 a.m.: Christopher Pracitto
10:40 a.m.: Manolo Reboso
10:50 a.m.: Stephanie Silver
11:20 a.m.: Karl S. H. Brown
11:25 a.m.: Carmen R. Cabarga
11:30 a.m.: Scott M. Janowitz
11:35 a.m.: Griska Mena
11:40 a.m.: Gavin N.L. White
11:45 a.m.: Peter S. Heller



From Judges on the way down to judges on the way up. 
Governor Scott (motto "I'm so outta here. DC here I come.") appointed Judge Bronwyn Miller to the 3rd DCA. 
It's a good appointment for a fine judge. And since the job mostly involves carefully writing "PCA AFFIRMED. See, Marbury v. Madison..." we are sure she will fit in just fine. 

Congrats to Judge Miller. It's a very good appointment and we now she will do us all proud. 




Judge Ortiz, who was previously a Judge of Compensation Claims from 1997 - 2003, and who was appointed to the County Court bench by Governor Jeb Bush in 2004, and who ran unopposed for re-election in 2006, 2012, and most recently in 2018, has agreed to a 90 day suspension.

On May 4, 2018, the JQC filed formal charges against the Judge. She was represented by our colleague, attorney David Rothman, throughout these proceedings. Judge Oritz was charged with violations related to free hotel stays that her husband received while he was the Director of the Building Department for the City of Miami Beach. Her husband, Mariano Fernandez, was arrested in February on allegations he accepted gifts from the RIU hotel chain in exchange for favors to help speed up renovations at the company's South Beach resort. Fernandez, who is currently represented by attorney Jeffrey Weiner, faces two charges of Unlawful Compensation, and is set to go to trial before Judge Richard Hersch on March 25, 2019. Attorney Barry Wax represents both defendant, Luis Riu, one of the owners of the hotel chain, and defendant, RIU Florida Inc. Attorney Jacqueline Arango represents another defendant in the case.

The allegations laid out in the JQC complaint state that:

1. "Between August 7, 2015, and August 9, 2015, you and your husband stayed free-of-charge in an expensive "Ocean Front" double room at the Riu Miami Beach Hotel. During this stay, the Hotel provided you and your husband with a free food basket and a bottle of wine."

2. "Between September 3, 2015, and September 7, 2015, you and your husband stayed free-of-charge, at the RIU Palace Bavaro All-Inclusive Resort, in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. During this week-long vacation, you and your family stayed, for free, in a jacuzzi suite.

The Hotel also arranged for a special excursion, a trip to the VIP area of the famous Coco-Bongo Show and Disco. This excursion was provided free-of-charge."

3. "Between September 1, 2016, and September 5, 2016, you and your husband stayed free-of-charge, at the RIU Palace All-Inclusive Resort in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. During this week-long vacation, you and your family stayed, for free, in a Ocean Jacuzzi Suite."

The JQC charges against Judge Oritz stated:

"You improperly received and then failed to disclose the receipt of any of the free hotel accommodations and benefits provided to your husband by the RIU Hotel Group."

Judge Ortiz accepted full responsibility for the violation of Judicial Canons and the JQC and Judge Oritz agreed to submit to the Florida Supreme Court a Stipulated settlement. The Stipulation stated:

"The Investigative Panel of the Commission submits to the Court, that a public reprimand and a fine of $5,000 are sufficient to address Judge Ortiz’s conduct, and likewise serves as a reminder to all judges about the importance of monitoring their personal finances, and accurate reporting on their financial disclosures."

On June 8, 2018, the Florida Supreme Court rejected the deal, stating:

"Upon consideration of the Judicial Qualifications Commission’s Findings and Recommendation of Discipline and the parties’ Stipulation, the Court rejects the Stipulation and disapproves the proposed sanctions. We remand for further proceedings to include a full hearing before the Judicial Qualifications Commission in order to fully develop the facts regarding any misconduct that occurred, so that the Court, in determining the appropriate discipline, will be apprised of all the facts and circumstances bearing on the alleged violations."

On October 29, 2018, after communications took place between the JQC and Judge Ortiz, a new Stipulation was reached:

"Based on the facts of this case, the Commission and Judge Ortiz now agree that an increased sanction is appropriate and, as such, have agreed that Judge Ortiz should receive a 30-day suspension without pay, pay a $5,000 fine, receive a public reprimand, and pay the reimbursable costs of the JQC's inquiry, in the amount of $377.45."

On December 7, 2018, by a 5-2 vote, with Justices Canady & Lawson dissenting, the Supreme Court again rejected the stipulated settlement.

"Upon consideration of the response to the Court’s June 8, 2018, order and the Revised Stipulation, the Court rejects the Revised Stipulation and disapproves the proposed sanctions. This case is remanded for further proceedings. The Court would accept a stipulation with the sanctions of a ninety-day suspension without pay, a $5000 fine, a public reprimand, and payment of the Judicial Qualifications Commission’s reimbursable costs. In the event the parties are unable to enter into a second revised stipulation, a final plenary hearing shall be conducted before the Commission."

On December 11, 2018, a Second Revised Stipulation was submitted to the Court whereby Judge Ortiz and the JQC agreed to the penalties outlines in the December 7th order:

"The Commission and Judge Oritz agree that Judge Oritz should receive a ninety-day suspension without pay, pay a $5,000 fine, receive a public reprimand, and pay the reimbursable costs of the JQC’s inquiry, in the amount of $377.45."


On June 15, 2018, the JQC filed formal charges against Judge White-Labora. The charges stated:

"In January of 2018, you wrote a character reference letter on behalf of a criminal defendant awaiting sentencing in federal court. USA v. Sam Konell 1:17-cr-20388 (SDFL). This letter was written on your judicial letterhead, and signed "Deborah White-Labora, County Court Judge."

The JQC went on to state that: "Such character reference letters are prohibited by the Canons and have resulted in published disciplinary cases".

The JQC and Judge White-Labora (she represented herself) reached an agreed stipulated settlement which stated that:

"The Commission therefore finds and recommends that in the interests of justice, the public welfare and sound juridical administration will be well served by a public reprimand of Judge White-Labora."

On November 15, 2018, the Florida Supreme Court agreed to accept the stipulation, stating:

"In this case, we review the findings, conclusions, and recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC) concerning Judge Deborah WhiteLabora, a judge of the Miami-Dade County Court, and the stipulation entered into between Judge White-Labora and the JQC. We have jurisdiction. See art. V, § 12, Fla. Const. As explained below, we approve the parties’ stipulation to the allegation that Judge White-Labora improperly provided a character reference letter, on her official court stationery, on behalf of a criminal defendant awaiting sentencing in federal court, as well as the JQC’s finding that this misconduct violated two canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct. We also approve the stipulated discipline of a public reprimand."

The Public Reprimand is scheduled to take place on February 6, 2019.



Thursday, December 06, 2018


Long time Miami Lawyer and Justice Building practitioner Louis Lesperance passed away on December 5th, 2018. 

With Lou being an attorney since 1959, he had a lot of accomplishments at both a professional level and, more importantly, at a personal level. "Sweet Lou" was a wonderful person, a man’s man, a real stand up guy. I had the honor and privilege of sharing office space with him.

Lou took great pride in his service to the country as a United State’s Marine. Although he was in his 80’s, Lou never abandoned his joy of being in the Marines, such was part of the framework of practically everything he did (hence his email address combatlou@aol.com.).  

Lou loved the law and enjoyed going to work. He was the eternal optimist, always having positive things to say, a jovial smile on his face, telling ribald jokes and kibitzing in and around the court house.  Since Lou moved to Miami well before most of us were born, when this area was truly a frontier, and came up the ranks through the local schools and colleges, Lou knew everybody… I mean EVERYBODY. Whereas you may have known judges because you practiced before them, Lou went to school, played sports, broke bread and socialized with many of the old-time pillars of the South Florida legal community.  You may have litigated before them but Lou did shots with them!

Over the years, I watched Lou; he was an awesome father figure and a wonderful and compassionate husband.  I watched him care for his ailing wife and Lou did the amazing work of a team of doctors and nurses. He was pious, loving, humble, compassionate and as classy as could be. Similar to the recent passing of George H. W. Bush, Lou also recently lost his beloved wife of 60 years and suffered from, and may have passed away, as a result of that broken heart. 

Among his three children, Lou was the father of Lisa, also an attorney that regularly practiced in the building (she also ran for judge) as well as Bob, an attorney that has been gracing these halls for over thirty years. When you see Bob around, offer him condolences, he'll be glad to hear from you. 

Louis K. Lesperance’s funeral service will be held on December 15th, 2018 at 11:00 am at Stanfill Funeral Home located at 10545 South Dixie Hwy, Miami Fl 33156 (305) 667-2518 stanfill.com